Dear Dr.William Behre,
On July 1 you are going to become the acting president at what might be the quirkiest small college in all of America. Slippery Rock just flat out is a weird name for a school and considering its size, SRU experiences a multitude of successes at every level, from the entire institution all the way down to individual students. SRU is often ranked among the nation’s safest colleges, we are often regarded as a university that offers the best education for its value, we stand out among other Pennsylvania schools both academically and athletically, and individual students are exceeding in different areas of study (attending conferences, publishing reports, etc.) seemingly all the time. It will be your job, as the face of the university, as the new president to ensure that Slippery Rock continues this level of success and continues to improve in the immediate and far future.
As the student newspaper, The Rocket staff believes we are in a unique position to act as the voice of students on SRU’s campus. Talking to students from every department, major and area of interest, we feel we can truly be representative of all Slippery Rock students and encapsulate what students true concerns and expectations are. In this capacity, we wanted to express to you what we believe to be the top concerns that Slippery Rock students have regarding a new president. You have stated multiple times that you want to spend the first part of your presidency learning about what students are experiencing here at SRU, so we offer reading this letter as your first homework assignment.
The number one thing to take into account as president is maintaining the small college atmosphere of SRU. Enrollment growth has been a big topic of discussion in higher education lately as more and more colleges start to struggle financially. SRU has enjoyed increasing enrollment and record number of students for several years in a row now, but we believe it is important to make sure SRU does not grow too much too quickly. SRU is not just a college for some people, it is more like a second home. Slippery Rock’s smaller size allows more students to meet one another, it allows professors to know every student personally and it contribute to what so many of us love about this school. While growing enrollment might be able to show how successful a university is, we ask that you seriously consider what it is that makes Slippery Rock so truly special and to make sure that that is taken into consideration when planning out the future of the institution.
Another thing we ask of you is to act consciously on behalf of student and faculty, as well as for the state system and higher administration. There have been times and incidents in the past few years where we have questioned whether or not SRU’s president and higher administration truly considers and values student involvement and engagement, and takes what both the student body and faculty members do for this school seriously. We come here as students to learn and develop our skills so that when we enter the “real world” we can think critically and solve problems when we see them. When we utilize these skills here we just want to be taken seriously and have our voices be heard.
Finally, we want you to make sure that Slippery Rock is for people from all backgrounds. SRU is an amazing school and we think that everyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, or anything else, should be able to come here and feel welcomed.
We hope that you fall in love with Slippery Rock just like so many of us have already and that you can lead this school to even greater heights.
We are “Behre” excited to have you here,
The Rocket Staff